I’m casting about for a metaphor here, so bear with me.
Watching the US elections from this side of the Atlantic is a lot like slowing down to stare at an accident in the opposite direction on the motorway. But the traffic police are all clowns. And nobodies paying attention to the big tanker of toxic chemicals leaking onto both sides of the divide and ready to tumble and rupture at any moment.
If this were an election in Grand Fenwick we could enjoy the petty stupidity of leaderly haircuts and the ‘he said, she said’ level of debate. But it’s the most powerful country in the world, so it’s vital that someone sensible takes over the reins. And the result could affect me, over here in a house in Manchester, so much that I have to weigh in and get into ‘discussions’ about politics with Americans, mostly conservatives.
I’ve noticed three main claims to conservatism- Christian, social and fiscal. Christian conservatives get their beliefs from God, via whichever piece of scripture suits their current prejudices. The Lord guides their every decision, so long as he isn’t preaching tolerance. Social conservatives want a return to the values of the a More Innocent AgeTM, probably the Fifties, and probably with the rolling back of women’s rights and a bit of re-segregation. They don’t name check God as often, but The Big Man figures in their alibis when they run out of arguments. Fiscal conservatives will happily watch their country’s infrastructure collapse around them, so long as they get a tax cut. In fact a zero rate is their God-given right.
Interaction with these guys, and their constant scapegoating of a higher power, has convinced me of one thing. If I decide to believe in a God, it won’t be theirs. Their God doesn’t exist.
God loves us. She wouldn’t have created such a wonderful thing as sex if she didn’t. Straight sex, gay sex, whatever, so long as people get together to celebrate the glory of her work. As far as our bodies go, she wants us to do whatever makes us happy with our own, and those of other consenting adults, it’s when we start telling other people what to do with theirs that she gets pissed off. (The one exception to this is boob jobs. The female breast is one of God’s triumphs, and she hates when people mess with all that good work.)
The Earth was created as a stable, balanced system, within certain generous limits, but we’re managing to push at them. God loves one tree hugging atheist more than any thousand church going SUV drivers. She’d like us to stop killing off all those cool creatures she allowed to evolve, especially the ones we didn’t even discover before they went extinct. It’s cool that we’re so ingenious, but could more of us direct that ingenuity toward saving energy please?
There’s more, so much more, but suffice to say God’s not happy with a lot of the drivel being spouted in her name. There are other countries out there that show us what goes wrong when people start hearing the Word of God and find that He supports all their prejudices. She doesn’t speak to them, and She doesn’t speak to conservatives of any stripe. They’ve just got to learn to live with it.
The first of the recovered Cycling on the Pavement pieces. This one was written, if you can’t guess, during the last US election